As Steele later tweeted, this would simply be about the costs of programming, not about actually, you know, wanting to buy a baseball team. She notes that the network could spend as much as $3 billion over 17 years for the TV rights to the Dodgers, as bid against other potential competitors for those rights. But if they bought the team they could spend somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion now for the team and guarantee themselves the TV rights. Not for free, of course — media right holders who also own the team have always paid themselves something for the privilege of broadcasting — but it’s a way lower number than the network would have to pay by itself, bidding against other networks.
For those of you who can’t remember life before Frank McCourt, Fox was the previous owner of the Dodgers. And one of the biggest reasons they sold the team in 2004 is that they are a broadcasting company, not a sports management company, so they lost money on the team. Which they only really had for the broadcast rights anyway. Sound familiar?
Yes, the world of team-owned media outlets (or media-owned team content providers) has grown far more sophisticated in the past several years and, yes, it’s possible that Fox would take a totally different tack if they were to take over the Dodgers again. But really, should they even be given the chance? Their bailing on the team last time gave us Frank McCourt to begin with.